Alivio vs. Deore SGS rear, C102 vs. Nexave 301 front - Please help

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Brad J ., May 30, 2003.

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  1. Brad J .

    Brad J . Guest

    I haven't owned or ridden a bike in several years and I'm trying to get back into it. At this point
    I'm trying to decide between a Gary Fisher Zebrano and the next model up, the Nirvana.

    The Zebrano has a Shimano Alivio rear derailleur and a C102 front derailleur, while the Nirvana has
    a Deore SGS rear derailleur and a Nexave 301 front derailleur. The Zebrano also has Matrix 750 rims
    vs. the Nirvana's Bontrager Fairlane rims. The price difference between the two bikes is about $150.

    These distinctions mean little to me and I'm getting differing information from sales people, even
    within the same shop. As a, for all intents and purposes, beginning bicyclist with a somewhat
    limited budget and not enough experience with shifting and such to really notice a difference
    between the two bikes on one test ride, I'm kind of at a loss.

    Can someone help me understand the distinctions between these parts (or these bikes if you're
    familiar with the models) and whether it's worth it to flip the bill for the better bike in the
    long-run? I'll be trying to work my way up to riding relatively long distances, so this isn't just
    going to be some errand bike.

    Thanks muchly.

    - Brad
     
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  2. Brad J. wrote:
    > I haven't owned or ridden a bike in several years and I'm trying to get back into it. At this
    > point I'm trying to decide between a Gary Fisher Zebrano and the next model up, the Nirvana.

    Since I'm not a Fisher dealer, I'm fairly impartial on this. They do have a well setup Web site that
    makes it easy to compare. See:

    http://www.fisherbikes.com/compare/results.asp?bike=Nirvana&bike=Zebrano

    > The Zebrano has a Shimano Alivio rear derailleur and a C102 front derailleur, while the Nirvana
    > has a Deore SGS rear derailleur and a Nexave 301 front derailleur.

    People tend to mythologize derailers, probably because most folks find them mysterious,
    Manufacturers often use (slightly) more expensive derailers as a marketing tool to differentiate
    bikes at different price points.

    > The Zebrano also has Matrix 750 rims vs. the Nirvana's Bontrager Fairlane rims. The price
    > difference between the two bikes is about $150.

    Both of these are Trek house brand rims, but the Bontragers are a premium model. This is probably a
    semi-real difference.

    Since I haven't inspected these bikes, I only have the Web site to go by, but here's my take on it:

    The Nirvana has an 1 1/8" threadless fork/headset, which I would consider a "plus"

    The Nirvana has a genuine Shimano bottom bracket, a definite plus over the no-name unit in
    the Zebrano.

    The Nirvana apparently has decent pedals, the Zebrano appears to have plastic junk. This is a fairly
    major difference.

    The Nirvana has a genuine Shimano cassette, which I would consider a plus.

    Front hubs are both "brand x". Rear hubs are both Shimano, an important
    thing not always found in this price range. I can't recall if the
    RM-40 rear hub is quick release or not. If not, that's a major plus for
    the Nirvana. If both are quick release, however not much difference.

    The Nirvana has separate brake and shift controls, generally a plus. Nirvana has GripShift, Zebrano
    has "EzyFire" under the bar. This comes down to personal preference.

    There's very little detail about the brakes, but they do note that the Zebrano front brake
    features the dreaded "power modulator." If you do choose the Zebrano, I'd suggest having the shop
    remove this.

    According to the Web site, the difference in price is only $125, not $150.

    > These distinctions mean little to me and I'm getting differing information from sales people, even
    > within the same shop. As a, for all intents and purposes, beginning bicyclist with a somewhat
    > limited budget and not enough experience with shifting and such to really notice a difference
    > between the two bikes on one test ride, I'm kind of at a loss.
    >
    > Can someone help me understand the distinctions between these parts (or these bikes if you're
    > familiar with the models) and whether it's worth it to flip the bill for the better bike in the
    > long-run? I'll be trying to work my way up to riding relatively long distances, so this isn't just
    > going to be some errand bike.

    Most of the upgrades on the Nirvana have to do with durability and serviceability. I wouldn't expect
    much difference in ride, as they evidently have the same frame and tires.

    The Zebrano is more skewed toward the casual "comfort" customer, with the longer travel fork, higher
    rise stem and the squishier saddle.

    The Nirvana is a wee bit more sporty in its setup. If you plan to do more than local neighborhood
    rides, it would be a better choice.

    I've sold a lot of bikes over the years, often to people who dithered a while between two price
    points. I never had somebody come back later and say "I wish I had bought the cheaper model."

    Finally, "Nirvana" is an actual word, though what it has to do with this particular bike is not
    evident. "Zebrano" is a made-up non-word invented by marketeers in thousand-dollar suits.

    Sheldon "Enlightenment" Brown +------------------------------------------------------------------+
    | We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, | but we must sail, and not drift,
    | nor lie at anchor. | --Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. |
    +------------------------------------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton,
    Massachusetts Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts
    shipped Worldwide http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  3. In article <[email protected]>,
    Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Brad J. wrote:
    > > I haven't owned or ridden a bike in several years and I'm trying to get back into it. At this
    > > point I'm trying to decide between a Gary Fisher Zebrano and the next model up, the Nirvana.
    >
    > Since I'm not a Fisher dealer, I'm fairly impartial on this. They do have a well setup Web site
    > that makes it easy to compare. See:
    >
    > http://www.fisherbikes.com/compare/results.asp?bike=Nirvana&bike=Zebrano

    > The Nirvana has an 1 1/8" threadless fork/headset, which I would consider a "plus"

    It strikes me that the Nirvana could be transformed into a semi-credible dirt bike later on thanks
    to this feature, since it assures shock upgradability.

    > The Zebrano is more skewed toward the casual "comfort" customer, with the longer travel fork,
    > higher rise stem and the squishier saddle.
    >
    > The Nirvana is a wee bit more sporty in its setup. If you plan to do more than local neighborhood
    > rides, it would be a better choice.
    >
    > Finally, "Nirvana" is an actual word, though what it has to do with this particular bike is not
    > evident. "Zebrano" is a made-up non-word invented by marketeers in thousand-dollar suits.
    >
    > Sheldon "Enlightenment" Brown

    No, zebrano came out of the woodwork:

    http://www.kw-veneers.com/veneerpages/zebrano.html http://www.woodmosaic.com/127.html

    As real as balsa, but more sophisticated-sounding,
    --
    Ryan Cousineau, [email protected] http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club
     
  4. Brad J .

    Brad J . Guest

    Thank you for that incredibly thorough comparison (sincerely). I think in your unbiased analysis
    you've more or less convinced me to go with the Nirvana. In my present situation, the price
    difference is fairly significant, but I should be looking at this in the same manner I look at
    computers: it's better to pay more now for something that will last longer and spend less time in
    the shop than to pinch pennies and face more frustration in the future.

    Also, regarding your comment on the Nirvana being sportier, part of the reason I wanted to go with a
    hybrid was because I was under the impression that it would perform better than a mountain bike on
    streets--where I'll be doing most of my riding in the near future--but have the versatility to
    handle somewhat rougher terrain. Good selling point.

    As for the model name comparison, I guess the name "Zebrano" could be considered to make sense based
    on 1) the color scheme and 2) the fact that a zebra is a hybrid species, but with the name
    "Nirvana," I figure my riding experience will either 1) be short-lived but highly influential or 2)
    allow me to receive total consciousness.

    So I have that going for me, which is nice.

    - Brad

    On Sat, 31 May 2003 02:57:07 GMT, Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Brad J. wrote:
    >> I haven't owned or ridden a bike in several years and I'm trying to get back into it. At this
    >> point I'm trying to decide between a Gary Fisher Zebrano and the next model up, the Nirvana.
    >
    >Since I'm not a Fisher dealer, I'm fairly impartial on this. They do have a well setup Web site
    >that makes it easy to compare. See:
    >
    >http://www.fisherbikes.com/compare/results.asp?bike=Nirvana&bike=Zebrano
    >
    >> The Zebrano has a Shimano Alivio rear derailleur and a C102 front derailleur, while the Nirvana
    >> has a Deore SGS rear derailleur and a Nexave 301 front derailleur.
    >
    >People tend to mythologize derailers, probably because most folks find them mysterious,
    >Manufacturers often use (slightly) more expensive derailers as a marketing tool to differentiate
    >bikes at different price points.
    >
    >> The Zebrano also has Matrix 750 rims vs. the Nirvana's Bontrager Fairlane rims. The price
    >> difference between the two bikes is about $150.
    >
    >Both of these are Trek house brand rims, but the Bontragers are a premium model. This is probably a
    >semi-real difference.
    >
    >Since I haven't inspected these bikes, I only have the Web site to go by, but here's my take on it:
    >
    >The Nirvana has an 1 1/8" threadless fork/headset, which I would consider a "plus"
    >
    >The Nirvana has a genuine Shimano bottom bracket, a definite plus over the no-name unit in
    >the Zebrano.
    >
    >The Nirvana apparently has decent pedals, the Zebrano appears to have plastic junk. This is a
    >fairly major difference.
    >
    >The Nirvana has a genuine Shimano cassette, which I would consider a plus.
    >
    > Front hubs are both "brand x". Rear hubs are both Shimano, an important
    > thing not always found in this price range. I can't recall if the
    > RM-40 rear hub is quick release or not. If not, that's a major plus for
    > the Nirvana. If both are quick release, however not much difference.
    >
    >The Nirvana has separate brake and shift controls, generally a plus. Nirvana has GripShift, Zebrano
    >has "EzyFire" under the bar. This comes down to personal preference.
    >
    >There's very little detail about the brakes, but they do note that the Zebrano front brake
    >features the dreaded "power modulator." If you do choose the Zebrano, I'd suggest having the shop
    >remove this.
    >
    >According to the Web site, the difference in price is only $125, not $150.
    >
    >> These distinctions mean little to me and I'm getting differing information from sales people,
    >> even within the same shop. As a, for all intents and purposes, beginning bicyclist with a
    >> somewhat limited budget and not enough experience with shifting and such to really notice a
    >> difference between the two bikes on one test ride, I'm kind of at a loss.
    >>
    >> Can someone help me understand the distinctions between these parts (or these bikes if you're
    >> familiar with the models) and whether it's worth it to flip the bill for the better bike in the
    >> long-run? I'll be trying to work my way up to riding relatively long distances, so this isn't
    >> just going to be some errand bike.
    >
    >Most of the upgrades on the Nirvana have to do with durability and serviceability. I wouldn't
    >expect much difference in ride, as they evidently have the same frame and tires.
    >
    >The Zebrano is more skewed toward the casual "comfort" customer, with the longer travel fork,
    >higher rise stem and the squishier saddle.
    >
    >The Nirvana is a wee bit more sporty in its setup. If you plan to do more than local neighborhood
    >rides, it would be a better choice.
    >
    >I've sold a lot of bikes over the years, often to people who dithered a while between two price
    >points. I never had somebody come back later and say "I wish I had bought the cheaper model."
    >
    >Finally, "Nirvana" is an actual word, though what it has to do with this particular bike is not
    >evident. "Zebrano" is a made-up non-word invented by marketeers in thousand-dollar suits.
    >
    >Sheldon "Enlightenment" Brown +------------------------------------------------------------------+
    >| We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, | but we must sail, and not
    >| drift, nor lie at anchor. | --Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. |
    >+------------------------------------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton,
    >Massachusetts Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts
    >shipped Worldwide http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  5. Brad J .

    Brad J . Guest

    I definitely like the idea of upgradability towards a more versatile bike. I believe the Fisher
    hybrid line, in contrast with the Trek hybrid line, is also designed to work well with knobby tires
    (don't quote me on that), which might be helpful at some point.

    I'm not, however, too keen on the idea of riding a bike made of balsa wood. Granted, it would be
    really light, but there comes a point where you have to draw the line...

    On Fri, 30 May 2003 22:51:54 -0700, Ryan Cousineau <[email protected]> wrote:

    > In article <[email protected]>,
    > Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> Brad J. wrote:
    >> > I haven't owned or ridden a bike in several years and I'm trying to get back into it. At this
    >> > point I'm trying to decide between a Gary Fisher Zebrano and the next model up, the Nirvana.
    >>
    >> Since I'm not a Fisher dealer, I'm fairly impartial on this. They do have a well setup Web site
    >> that makes it easy to compare. See:
    >>
    >> http://www.fisherbikes.com/compare/results.asp?bike=Nirvana&bike=Zebrano
    >
    >> The Nirvana has an 1 1/8" threadless fork/headset, which I would consider a "plus"
    >
    >It strikes me that the Nirvana could be transformed into a semi-credible dirt bike later on thanks
    >to this feature, since it assures shock upgradability.
    >
    >> The Zebrano is more skewed toward the casual "comfort" customer, with the longer travel fork,
    >> higher rise stem and the squishier saddle.
    >>
    >> The Nirvana is a wee bit more sporty in its setup. If you plan to do more than local neighborhood
    >> rides, it would be a better choice.
    >>
    >> Finally, "Nirvana" is an actual word, though what it has to do with this particular bike is not
    >> evident. "Zebrano" is a made-up non-word invented by marketeers in thousand-dollar suits.
    >>
    >> Sheldon "Enlightenment" Brown
    >
    >No, zebrano came out of the woodwork:
    >
    >http://www.kw-veneers.com/veneerpages/zebrano.html http://www.woodmosaic.com/127.html
    >
    >As real as balsa, but more sophisticated-sounding,
     
  6. Brad J. wrote:
    > I definitely like the idea of upgradability towards a more versatile bike. I believe the Fisher
    > hybrid line, in contrast with the Trek hybrid line, is also designed to work well with knobby
    > tires (don't quote me on that), which might be helpful at some point.

    Not likely. Knobby hybrid tires are mainly a styling exercise. The conditions for which knobs
    are useful (mud, sand) tend to also call for a wider tire to keep from sinking in and getting
    bogged down.

    The only instances where knobby hybrid tires _might_ be of some value is certain conditions of snow
    on pavement.

    The knobs significantly increase rolling resistance, deteriorate cornering performance, and cause an
    annoying buzzing. If you have been suckered into buying a hybrid with knobbies, swap them out for
    slicks, and you'll be astonished at how much nicer the ride becomes.

    I particularly like the 32 mm Ritchey Tom Slick for this application.

    Sheldon "Pet Peeve" Brown +--------------------------------+
    | Happy Reynolds Day! (5/31) |
    +--------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts Phone 617-244-9772 FAX
    617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide http://captainbike.com
    http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  7. Andy Dingley

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On Sat, 31 May 2003 09:38:37 GMT, Brad J. <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I'm not, however, too keen on the idea of riding a bike made of balsa wood.

    Britain's first supersonic aircraft (DH108 Swallow) was made of balsa plywood.

    OK, so the first one broke up in flight and killed Geoffrey de Havilland, but it wasn't the
    timber's fault.
     
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